From hybrid working and the ‘new normal’ to waist-up fashion and Zooming, we’ve certainly adopted a new vocabulary of buzz terms and jargon when it comes to the office and everyday working – and one of the latest ones is ‘quiet quitting’.
Thanks to the unprecedented events surrounding the pandemic, people started to name and explain new processes and phenomena that simply hadn’t happened before. And although the lockdown is over, we continue to do so.
‘Quiet quitting’, alongside terms such as ‘quiet thriving’ and ‘resenteeism’, has recently joined the mighty dictionary of post-pandemic working life. But what exactly is this? And why has it got so many of us talking? We explore this in our new guide, HR in 2023 and beyond, with exclusive data on the topic and how widespread it is.
What is quiet quitting?
Quiet quitting was recently coined to describe workers who choose to do the work they’re being paid to do, without taking on any extra duties or participating in extracurricular activities.
This, of course, suggests that in the pre–lockdown working world, employees took on, or were expected to take on, additional responsibilities that weren’t specified in their job description or contract.
Many would argue that this is necessary to progress within an organisation and has been happening for as long as we can remember. However, with the rise of social media and the business world being flipped on its head, it’s now being recognised as a widespread trend, particularly associated with young people.
Should I be worried?
Managers up and down the country are probably scanning their teams for any signs of this newly-named phenomenon. And the truth is that it’s probably been happening in offices across the globe without people realising it.
Our research found that nearly a third (32%) of HR professionals have noticed this in their organisations and 95% of these respondents agree it’s negatively affecting them. But is this because we don’t fully understand the reasons for quiet quitting?
Why are people quiet quitting?
This ultimately comes down to how individuals like to work and the way in which they intend to advance (or not) their careers. It’s normal to see employees who are comfortable with their position and have no real desire to change this, just as it’s natural for others to set their sights on something bigger.
But if we look back in history at office culture, it’s been ingrained in us that those who don’t go ‘above and beyond’ aren’t fully committed to their role or business and this lack of drive generally reflects badly on the employee. But this just shouldn’t be the case.
The pandemic showed us how important it is to strike a balance between work and personal life, and taking on additional responsibilities can do more harm than good. Burnout was a result of too much work as people were unable to separate it from home. This meant that people were working longer hours and picking up extra tasks that didn’t come under their title.
Eventually, many realised that they weren’t being paid for the additional hours or responsibility and decided enough was enough. This led to the ‘Great Resignation’ with hoards of workers leaving their jobs, or if resigning wasn’t an option, then quiet quitting was the answer.
This doesn’t mean employees aren’t committed or are unhappy in their roles. It’s simply a way to manage expectations to ensure they aren’t overworked and under-rewarded.
Ultimately, managers should take a more proactive approach to understanding employees’ goals and current workloads. Open and honest communication will allow them to explain what they would like to achieve whilst working at the organisation, without the fear of being judged for simply undertaking the role they’ve been assigned.
It’s all about managing quiet quitting in the right way.
Read more in Natural HR’s free guide
We wanted to get a sense of how the business landscape has changed in the last year from the perspective of HR professionals. Our free report, HR in 2023 and beyond, identifies the challenges, priorities and initiatives that organisations need to address and spearhead going forward.
You can discover more about the changes in working behaviour and the future of HR by downloading the report today.